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Winner, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, weaves an intriguing tapestry from sociological, autobiographical, pastoral and historical threads. She balances a journalistic report of how difficult chastity is for American Christians; a personal account of how she and her friends have approached premarital and marital sex; a survey of what the Bible, pastors and good Christian books say about the topic; and an overview of how chastity has been understood throughout Christian history. The candor with which Winner writes about sex may alarm some Christian readers, but those who follow her arguments to their conclusions will find themselves rewarded with fresh insights about an overdiscussed but still deeply entrenched problem among Christians. Interestingly, some of Winner's best insights are about married sex. She states early on that "in Christianity's vocabulary the only real sex is the sex that happens in marriage; the faux sex that goes on outside marriage is not really sex at all... [it] is only a distorted image of sex, as Walt Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort is only a simulation of real wilderness." Winner places real sex not in the passionate world of one-night stands and dating relationships, but in the ordinary, domestic life of married couples. As such, she helpfully and perhaps even radically reframes both the Christian and cultural discussion of chastity and sexuality. (Apr.)
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Lauren F. Winner (PhD, Columbia University) is the highly acclaimed author of the memoir Girl Meets God. She is assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, and has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Christianity Today, and Christian Century. Visit her website at www.laurenwinner.net.